Monday, May 18, 2009

Harry Binswanger Talks To Glenn Beck

A public appearance from the ARI's Harry Binswanger. Not that common an event. His media training (which he mentions in his latest email newsletter) seems to be better than Leonard Peikoff's.

Hat tip Neil Parille


Anonymous said...

Objectivists are taking to Beck a little. I've seen Yaron Brook on the show a few times.

Damien said...

Daniel Barnes,

I do have to at least in part agree with Harry Binswanger and Glen Beck on some of the things they were saying. From what I hear, there is a significant amount of left wing indoctrination that passes for education in the schools these days, especially in Collage.

Check out The Professors by David Horowitz. He also wrote several other books on the subject of indoctrination in schools.

Damien said...

Although America has traditionally been a very individualistic society, it probably never was as much as many objectivists would imagine it was when it was first started.

Anon69 said...

Damien said: "Although America has traditionally been a very individualistic society, it probably never was as much as many objectivists would imagine it was when it was first started."

Agreed wholeheartedly on that. Contra Rand's brown-nosing of the founders, the U.S. Constitution is hardly a declaration of individual rights. 1. It left the sovereignty of the states, with "numerous and indefinite" powers, substantially intact. 2. The U.S. Constitution was itself essentially a collectivist enterprise, enacted in the name of "WE" the people, drawing upon the consent of a majority of people and/or states. Collectivism was inherent at the outset, a few bones thrown to the dog of individual rights notwithstanding.

What's especially annoying is the transparency of Rand's nationalistic brown-nosing, underscoring her choice of political expediency over the truth.

Xtra Laj said...


Objectivists admit those collectivistic parts of the writings of the Founding Fathers. They blame those parts for the destruction of America - they are America's philosophical Achilles Heel in Objectivist thought.

Anon69 said...

Xtra Laj,
here is what Rand said:

"Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals—that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government—that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens’ protection against the government."

"Ours was the first government based on and strictly limited by a written document—the Constitution—which specifically forbids it to violate individual rights or to act on whim. The history of the atrocities perpetrated by all the other kinds of governments—unrestricted governments acting on unprovable assumptions—demonstrates the value and validity of the original political theory on which this country was built."

"A complex legal system, based on objectively valid principles, is required to make a society free and to keep it free—a system that does not depend on the motives, the moral character or the intentions of any given official, a system that leaves no opportunity, no legal loophole for the development of tyranny. The American system of checks and balances was just such an achievement. And although certain contradictions in the Constitution did leave a loophole for the growth of statism, the incomparable achievement was the concept of a constitution as a means of limiting and restricting the power of the government."

"The clause giving Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce is one of the major errors in the Constitution. That clause, more than any other, was the crack in the Constitution’s foundation, the entering wedge of statism, which permitted the gradual establishment of the welfare state. But I would venture to say that the framers of the Constitution could not have conceived of what that clause has now become. If, in writing it, one of their goals was to facilitate the flow of trade and prevent the establishment of trade barriers among the states, that clause has reached the opposite destination."

To Rand, who heaps praise upon the U.S. Constitution, it was fundamentally about securing individual rights. But a better description comes from Butler Shaffer at

"From the outset, the United States Constitution represented, in the words of Lord Macaulay, "all sail and no anchor." What else, other than expansive state power, ought to have been expected from a document whose preamble speaks of such purposes as "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, [and] promote the general Welfare?" When, to such purposes, are added such powers as the "Power To lay and collect Taxes, . . . to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare," as well as the power "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the united States," one should have wondered where lay the "limited" nature of the state! Conservatives continue to bleat the need to "get back to the Constitution." The reality is that the state never deviated from this instrument. It is exercising the virtually unrestrained powers that were spelled out for it!"

To Rand, the constitution had loopholes, an entering wedge, an Achilles Heel. But these were no loopholes or wedges. Rooted in the concept of popular (not individual) sovereignty, they were part-and-parcel of a design that was fundamentally an unrestrained power (vis-à-vis the individual) from its very drafting.

Xtra Laj said...


I don't agree with either Rand or Shafer, and if forced to side with one, I would side with Rand over Shafer. Shafer's anarchism is one of the most unreasonably anti-empirical variety when it comes to human nature. He considers government inherently evil and would blame most of the evil human beings commit on it.

I think that there are many other actions and speeches that the Founding Fathers made which you can use to determine the spirit in which they wrote the constitution.

The truth here is that governments cannot be perfect, but neither are human beings. Anarchists make it sound like human beings are perfect but become corrupted by the government.

Anon69 said...

You don't have to agree with Shafer's anarchism to see that what the founders actually did was nowhere close to what Rand describes. The Objectivist basis of government is individual rights based on the principle of non-initation of force. Government has a monopoly on force that can be properly used only against those who would initiate its use. The Congress' power of taxation alone disproves Rand's history. What the framers did, in essence, was "Americanize" the British constitution by getting rid of the heriditary element and substituting the sovereignty of the people acting collectively. That is a FAR CRY from the type of constitution that Rand wants to attribute to America's founders. Rand saw in the U.S. Constitution what she wanted to see and wished had been - and plainly wasn't.

Xtra Laj said...


I agree with you. I'm just pointing out that the Objectivists have this funny way of romanticizing what they sympathize with, but nitpicking so that they can sound as if they are always better than whatever they cannot compromise with. The goal is never to accept - it is always to criticize and make themselves sound better.